As many of you might have seen on my latest instagram/fb posts, I was recently diagnosed with bowel cancer after 2.5 years of being ill and ignored by medical professionals.
Once the initial diagnosis happened, everything moved very quickly. After my colonoscopy, I met my surgical team and then had a 101 different tests, before being booked into surgery approx 3 weeks after. It was a very stressful time, and at times very overwhelming. But with it came a sense of peace. That finally I knew what was wrong with me. I wasn’t crazy or inventing symptoms (like sadly some Dr’s had implied), and the daily nausea and vomiting I had been experiencing for years had nothing to do with being fat (as I had also been told). Suddenly the 2 year pause on my life due to covid and being sick and dehabilitated made sense.
However, it was still cancer. The “C” word that came with so many connotations, statistics, fund raising events, etc. The “C” that I was pretty sure I would never get due to noone in my family having had it. The “C” that now was infecting my colon, fighting through my colon wall, and trying to kill me from the inside.
My cancer lovingly became know as “Bruno” (thank you Disney for the plathora of “we don’t talk about Bruno” and “Silenzio Bruno” clap backs) as a way of me being able to handle the emotions. Another pet to look after, and make sure isn’t plotting world domination (unlike some of my dogs)!!
But it was hard. It’s very hard to wrap your head around the idea that something that your body created is actively trying to kill you. I found it very hard to watch any films or series’ with multiple personality disorders, with a good person and bad inner demon. I couldn’t wrap my head around the fact that there was an “evil” inside me that was trying to take over. Trying to kill me. Comedy and cartoons became firm friends.
During this time, my main concern was my dogs and my partner. Would they be ok? Can I keep the dogs before/ during/ after? Can my boyfriend help look after them? What would they do it I die? How can I make sure this is as easy as possible for everyone I love.
In the days before surgery, I was convinced I was going to die. That my surgery day was my last day on earth. I wrote a will where I clearly divided my assets and belongings amongst my loved ones, I wrote detailed documents about the dogs care for when I died- their funds for life and any requests I had.
I also wrote my funeral requests with strict instructions for the playlist (it had to be happy, upbeat and party like), and no crying allowed. lol. It was ridiculously organised and specific. One of my school friends (who I hadn’t seen in years) was roped in as the executor of the will. lol. Mad I know, but it gave me a sense of peace knowing everyone was going to be ok one I was gone.
I didn’t die- thankfully. But I ended up in hospital for much longer than expected with various complications. Days after being allowed home, I was then rushed into the ER with sepsis and was admitted again for a few days as I nearly died of the infection (the irony was that I was convinced that nothing was wrong other than maybe needing some cream) lol.
The hospital experience was awful with extreme pain, constant noise in the ward and a very unhealthy mindset from me due to the lack of sleep. Thankfully (after a day of negotiations), I was allowed home only on the condition that nurses came every day to visit me. I was happy with the deal.
As the incision wound began to heal up over the next week, it unexpectatly burst open, tearing the stitches from the cancer surgery and leaving me with a 13cm hole that burrowed inside my stomach (send me a message if you want to see the gross pictures lol). This set my healing adventure back to post surgery complications where I was unable to leave my bed, bend down, or lift anything heavier that a plate. I was also on an insane amount of pain meds. I couldn’t do anything. It was the lowest point for me of the process. At this point, I was convinced the surgery was the wrong decision, and I would have been happy to have gone back to the pre surgery nausea and vomiting just in order to get a small bit of my life back.
This cancer surgery wound has felt never ending- it still hasn’t ended, but the wound is closing slowly and I am able to slowly reduce my pain medications. The nurses still come daily and check on me, and I can’t bend down, pick up my tiny dogs, or stretch.
However, not everything is doom and gloom. I have 1/3 of my dogs back living at home and they have been incredible. I have the most wonderful partner who has kept me alive and well fed during the entire ordeal. And our little family has kept my spirits up and laughing while I lay in bed, or lay on the sofa.
I am aching to get back to work. I love working with animals and writing about them. I love performing on stage. I live for my work. I miss it terribly.
I start Chemotherapy soon (as soon as the wound has healed) and I will begin a new 6 month adventure of hospital visits, tests, and home rest. My chances of dying from this cancer within 5 years are 1/4 with an even higher chance of “Bruno” coming back. But I am a fighter. I don’t want to die. I have too much world to see and be inspired by. I have too many more dogs to rescue. I have too much love to keep giving. I want to change the world, start a charity or two, and allow my legacy to make a difference for generations to come. I hope my mark on the world makes it a better place. I am not ready to let Bruno win just yet. He doesn’t know who he is messing with.
(insert Rocky theme tune)
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